Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hasselt Genever Festival

20 and 21 October 2007 are the dates to be in Hasselt, Limburg for the 18th Genever (Jenever in Dutch) Festival. Hasselt is the Belgian capital for this strong schnapps type drink. The National Genever Museum in Witte Nonnenstraat 19 produces Hasselt genever in the authentic 19th century distillery and after official approval by the Mayor at 3pm on the Saturday, everybody is invited to taste in the museum courtyard.

The Borrelmanneke's treat
True to annual tradition, the "Borrelmanneke" statue, the symbol of genever production in Hasselt, buys a drink on Saturday. At 4:30 p.m. the water of the fountain becomes genever.

There is a full weekend programme of activities for the whole family to enjoy. The Waiters Race (Kelnerwedloop) will run through the town centre at 3pm on Sunday from the Molenpoort, the winner receiving his weight in genever.

Pub "Den Ossekop" (The Ox Head) on the Fruitmarkt welcomes visitors to entertainment in a tent from 1 to 8pm on Saturday and 1 to 7pm on Sunday.

There will be several sites of street animation and music. The Dramglasses Fair (Stoopkeskermis) on the grote Markt offers a fair with a carrousel, music and of course a bar. The Genever Fair (Jeneverkermis) on Jeneverplein will be organized by the Rotary Club offering ambiance and folk games.

Exhibitions and Sales
National Genever Museum - 25 years of Genever (free entry)
Antiques and flea market on Kolonel Dusartpein from 8 to 1 on Saturday along with a trade fair for drink-related publicity and advertising articles.
Second-hand book fair on Molenpoortplein from 10 to 6 on Saturday.

Free guided walking tours of Hasselt - book with the tourist office.
Genever cruise with Rederij Limburgia
Rollerskating on Sunday from 10.30 on the Kolonel Dusartplein.

Culinary Highlights
Taste Speculaas (local cinnamon based biscuits) and geneverpaté
Genever dinner with various dishes based on genever - book at the tourist office

Travel by train
The railways are offering a B-Daytrip to Hasselt (nr 355) from any Belgian station from €12.90. Otherwise I suggest travelling by local bus and leave the car at home.

Hasselt Genever Festival website
Hasselt Tourism
Belgian railways

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